Once upon what seems like a very long time ago, I was the executive director of the American Sail Training Association. During my tenure we launched a spectacular annual event called the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE, which was series of tall ships races that connected a series of maritime port festivals that attracted millions of people down to see the ships. We claimed that hosting the event could transform a city, especially one that had neglected waterfront. I can hardly think of a more dramatic transformative effect than what’s planned for Tacoma.
American practice Olson Kundig Architects are renovating a historic dock building in the port city of Tacoma, reinforcing the existing structure and suspending boats from a newly added roof.
The Foss Waterway Seaport is also the home to the fun Working Waterfront Museum.
Of course, the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE can’t take all of the credit for what’s currently underway on Tacoma’s waterfront but it definitely can take some. Hundreds of thousands of people came down to the see the tall ships and the vast majority of them had probably never ventured into this neighborhood before. Events like these raise awareness of the importance of protecting and preserving our maritime heritage while creating better access to the waterfront for all.
I can’t wait to go back to Tacoma and visit the Foss Waterway Seaport!